Cool Slowly
Cool Slowly: Chapter 2

2: He regretted it.

The room was very quiet, so quiet that you could hear the rain outside falling drop by drop.

Xu Yuanzhe didn’t say anything.

Yu Yue didn’t say anything either.

When he spoke that sentence earlier, Yu Yue felt like it wasn’t as easy as he had imagined. He felt somewhat unsteady and had to lean on the table to stay upright.

Yu Yue, who had initially approached a relationship with Xu Yuanzhe with the idea of “let’s give it a try, and if I can’t accept it, we can break up, it’s not like I like him that much,” only realized today that he had been with Xu Yuanzhe for almost two years.

Yu Yue, who had never considered dating a guy before, had never encountered anything he couldn’t accept throughout his relationship with Xu Yuanzhe. Xu Yuanzhe had gradually become a significant part of his life, like a nail that was driven into it inch by inch. And when he wanted to remove it, he realized that doing so would require tearing flesh and blood.

Yu Yue pressed his fingers against the table, unconsciously exerting force until they turned slightly pale.

After a while, Xu Yuanzhe slowly approached him.

Xu Yuanzhe was tall, 187 centimeters, which was seven centimeters taller than Yu Yue. He stood in front of Yu Yue, blocking the already dim light in the bedroom.

Xu Yuanzhe didn’t say anything. He reached out, wrapped his arms around Yu Yue’s waist, and lifted Yu Yue’s head to rest it on his shoulder.

“What are you thinking?” Xu Yuanzhe asked in a low, husky voice. “Is it because I didn’t see your messages and didn’t pick you up today? If…”

Yu Yue closed his eyes and interrupted Xu Yuanzhe, “It’s not because of that.”

His eyes stung a little. Perhaps, in this moment, not only did Xu Yuanzhe not know, but Yu Yue himself didn’t know when their problems had started.

After a while, Xu Yuanzhe asked Yu Yue in a hushed voice, “Then what is it because of?”

Yu Yue didn’t answer, and he remained silent.

Because Yu Yue remained silent, Xu Yuanzhe couldn’t bring himself to speak either. He just held onto Yu Yue, and they remained quiet for a long time. Xu Yuanzhe closed his eyes and used his nose to nuzzle Yu Yue’s ear and cheek, a form of intimacy that Yu Yue used to adore.

Xu Yuanzhe asked, “Have you had dinner? I can make something.”

Yu Yue still didn’t say anything.

He wanted to talk with Xu Yuanzhe, but not to avoid the issue. But as soon as he tried to speak, it felt like something was choking his throat, making it impossible for him to make a sound. It was as if the courage required for that one sentence he’d spoken earlier had completely drained him.

Xu Yuanzhe asked again, “Do you want to eat braised pork ribs, hmm?”

Tears were welling up in Yu Yue’s eyes.

His voice was soft, and his eyelashes trembled. “Aren’t you going to talk to me?”

Xu Yuanzhe finally let go of Yu Yue.

His hands braced against Yu Yue’s body on either side, conveniently resting on the table.

Xu Yuanzhe looked at Yu Yue, with his sharp and beautiful single eyelids slightly lowered, which made him appear somewhat distant. But in reality, he wasn’t. He lowered his gaze and continued to watch Yu Yue for a long time.

Yu Yue was aware of his own difficulty in opening up.

Because every time something happened, Xu Yuanzhe couldn’t find the right words to say. That’s just his personality – aloof, silent, and not very articulate. But now that he was with Yu Yue, he was different from the Xu Yuanzhe outside.

He reserved his most tender and indulgent side for Yu Yue, something he had never given to anyone else.

Finally, Yu Yue pushed Xu Yuanzhe’s arm and said, “Go and make dinner.” After a brief pause, his voice was very soft, “I’m hungry.”

Xu Yuanzhe stood up.

He took a couple of steps away, then returned and suddenly lifted Yu Yue into his arms.

Yu Yue was caught off guard by being picked up and almost got startled. He instinctively wrapped his arms around Xu Yuanzhe’s neck.

Xu Yuanzhe carried Yu Yue out to the kitchen, cleared a spot by the countertop with a tissue, and then placed Yu Yue there.

Yu Yue gazed blankly at Xu Yuanzhe.

He remembered back during their honeymoon phase when they would play around and be affectionate until it was time to eat. Yu Yue couldn’t win against Xu Yuanzhe’s teasing, so he pushed him towards the kitchen to make dinner. Xu Yuanzhe didn’t want to be separated from Yu Yue and picked him up, carrying him into the kitchen, where he would sit Yu Yue down on the counter.

It was the same scene they had played out many times.

But for some reason, it felt different now.

While waiting for the ribs to simmer, Xu Yuanzhe stood in front of Yu Yue. He leaned on the counter with one hand and placed the other on Yu Yue’s waist. He softly said, “Give me a kiss.”

Yu Yue stared at Xu Yuanzhe’s face, so close.

It seemed like Xu Yuanzhe’s unique way of making up after an argument. After opening up about their feelings, they would end with a slightly embarrassed moment. Xu Yuanzhe would always lean in and say to Yu Yue, “Give me a kiss.”

And once Yu Yue took the initiative and kissed him, they would cling to each other without any lingering resentment, as if none of the arguments had ever happened.

The kitchen’s bright incandescent light was almost blinding, making it hard for Yu Yue to keep his eyes open.

The simmering ribs on the side continued to bubble in the pot.

Yu Yue also wanted to make amends with Xu Yuanzhe.

However, they hadn’t actually argued.

Yu Yue wasn’t angry with Xu Yuanzhe either.

He was just looking at this face, thinking whether Xu Yuanzhe still liked him.

He was just looking at this face, wondering what he would do if Xu Yuanzhe really didn’t like him anymore.


After a very long time, Xu Yuanzhe remained still, as if he had turned into stone.

Yu Yue softly said, “The ribs need to be cooked…”

In the next moment, Xu Yuanzhe suddenly lifted his hand, the one that had been resting on the countertop, and placed it on the back of Yu Yue’s neck, pushing him forward.

Before Yu Yue could react, Xu Yuanzhe had already kissed him deeply.

Yu Yue’s breathing hitched.

Unlike their usual affectionate interactions, this kiss was different. It seemed to want to swallow Yu Yue’s very breath.

Yu Yue instinctively struggled, but Xu Yuanzhe’s grip tightened.

When Xu Yuanzhe finally released him, Yu Yue was almost breathless, gasping for air with big heaves, his eyes glistening with the tears that the kiss had brought.

However, in that moment, Yu Yue didn’t feel angry or anything else. Strangely, he felt relieved.

It was as if Xu Yuanzhe’s actions were a sign that he still cared about him.

Xu Yuanzhe picked up a spatula and said, “I’ll settle the score with you later.”

Yu Yue remained silent.

His heart seemed to have settled a bit, though not entirely at ease, but it was certainly better than before.

The ribs had turned into a charred mess, but Yu Yue found them delicious.

He hadn’t eaten anything all day, but he hadn’t told Xu Yuanzhe.

Yu Yue had two bowls of rice, while Xu Yuanzhe had finished earlier and put down his chopsticks.

After Yu Yue put down his chopsticks too, Xu Yuanzhe got up to clear the table. He pinched Yu Yue’s slightly puffed cheek and said, “Go wait for me in the bedroom.”

Yu Yue hesitated for a moment but eventually followed his instructions.

He sat on the bed in their bedroom, listening to the sound of Xu Yuanzhe washing dishes in the kitchen, his head down, fiddling with his phone.

Yu Yue opened Weibo for a quick look. The online controversy had died down, and he wasn’t exactly an A-list celebrity. The reason for the huge commotion was mainly because he was the son of Yu Jingnian.

While checking his phone, it started vibrating again.

Another call was coming in.

Yu Yue instinctively thought about hanging up, but then he noticed the contact name on the call was “Dad.”

His heart seemed to pause for a moment.

He answered the call, but before he could say anything, Yu Jingnian’s voice came from the other end, “Come back immediately. Your mother just fainted, and she’s in the hospital for treatment.”


Yu Yue’s head was suddenly buzzing.

He stood up instinctively and felt dizzy for a moment, then stumbled against the door.

With a loud “thud,” the sound of water in the kitchen ceased.

When Xu Yuanzhe came out, Yu Yue was already putting on his shoes.

“What’s wrong?” Xu Yuanzhe asked, looking at Yu Yue.

Yu Yue had one hand covering his forehead and was slipping on his shoes with the other. “My mom… is in the hospital, I need to go back for a while.”

Xu Yuanzhe grabbed a tissue to dry his hands. “I’ll drive you to the airport.”

“It’s not necessary,” Yu Yue put down his hand, his forehead was reddened, “it’s too late. It’s over an hour drive, I’ll take a taxi. I’m worried it won’t be safe for you to drive back…”

It was as if Xu Yuanzhe hadn’t heard Yu Yue talking. He put on his coat, picked up his phone and car keys, and walked out with Yu Yue.

The drive to the airport was silent.

Yu Yue stared at the lights passing by outside the car window, unconsciously biting his lip harder.

“Have you booked your flight?” Xu Yuanzhe glanced at Yu Yue in between.

Yu Yue replied with a simple “Yes.”

Silence lingered for a while, and then Yu Yue muttered as if he wasn’t even aware of his own words, “A flight of almost three hours… It’s a long time.”

Xu Yuanzhe remained silent.

As the car entered the highway, the only sound around them was the movement of vehicles.

Until they reached the airport, neither of them spoke.

Xu Yuanzhe parked the car and sent Yu Yue into the airport.

Before going through security, Yu Yue turned around because there was still enough time, and he took a look at Xu Yuanzhe.

Xu Yuanzhe was dressed in a black windbreaker, his figure tall and upright. His hair was loosely tied, and a strand had fallen loose, resting by his temple, like a scene extended from a movie featuring a beauty.

The airport’s lights were very bright, casting a clear and sharp illumination on both of them.

Seeing Xu Yuanzhe’s appearance, Yu Yue’s heart softened suddenly, and he walked over to hug him.

Xu Yuanzhe also embraced Yu Yue, sensing Yu Yue’s body trembling slightly out of control. He used his windbreaker to wrap Yu Yue in his arms.

In silence for a moment, Xu Yuanzhe said, “I shouldn’t have persuaded you to study so far away from home.”

Yu Yue’s body had a slight pause.

He looked up and gazed at Xu Yuanzhe, “Do you regret it?”

Xu Yuanzhe remained silent.

He lowered his head, seeming to want to kiss Yu Yue.

But Yu Yue avoided it, stepped back, and headed toward the security checkpoint.

Xu Yuanzhe stayed where he was, not following any further.

Yu Yue turned around to look at Xu Yuanzhe once more and mouthed, “Go back.”

Xu Yuanzhe still stood motionless.

Yu Yue didn’t pay any more attention to him, went through security, and disappeared around a corner.

After boarding the plane, Yu Yue found his seat and sat down.

He had a window seat, and it was quite late. Lights on the airport runway were blinking on and off.

Yu Yue stared at the blinking lights, and he felt his vision becoming increasingly blurry.

It was as if he had finally understood the source of his strange feelings.

Perhaps it wasn’t that Xu Yuanzhe didn’t like him as much anymore.

It was that he had started to sense a word hidden behind Xu Yuanzhe’s every word and action:


At that moment, Yu Yue could finally feel this realization clearly.

Xu Yuanzhe regretted it.


Certified member of the IIO(International Introverts Organization), PhD holder in Overthinking and Ghosting, Spokesperson for BOBAH(Benefits of Being a Homebody), Founder of SFA(Salted Fish Association), Brand Ambassador for Couch Potato fall line Pajama set.

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